Valentino's new look: retro casual, not a suit in sight

There is a whole new look out there in men’s fashion; retro casual street style that references the 80s and plays with sartorial codes, and one of its leaders is the house of Valentino.


Valentino

 
There was not one suit in this spring 2018 collection. Indeed, the key elements were a series of nautical parkas, cut with all manner of fabric strips, patches, slanted pockets and Velcro sleeves.
 
The other must-have item was the tracksuit – worthy of a sprint gold from the Los Angeles Olympics, though completely updated thanks to snow crystal and ethnic embroidery. All anchored by bubblegum color sneakers in mixes of wool, nylon and rubber.
 
“I know the logo from the 80s so am rather over logos. But a new art director helped turned into something new and now I love it,” confessed designer Pierpaolo Piccioli
 
This season was all about the ironic logo – in Valentino’s case, one reduced to just four letters – VLTN. And seen on T-Shirts, tops and crisp white shirts with double collars.
 
 “There was an opposing tension between the intimacy of Vulcan and the dynamism of Mercury. Romanticism meets street,” said the designer, in a thoughtful mood.
 
Though his best look, and one sure to capture the hearts of a trio of American basketball stars from the New York Knicks and Houston Rockets, were some fabulous fine wool redingotes, finished with what looked like old-fashioned tennis court boundary paint.
 
Staged in the former 16th arrondissement mansion of Calouste Gulbenkian – who some 100 years ago was estimated to be the richest man in the world – the atmosphere was ebullient throughout.
 
Valentino passed the billion-euro-a-year mark last year, and its president explained that it is growing in double figures in the first half of this year. “And we only have 160 stores so there is lots of room for organic growth,” insisted Valentino president Stefano Sassi.
 
The house opened a 700 square-meters store in Ginza Six this spring, and is now targeting wholesale sales in multi-brand boutiques and Asian department stores. Though not, obviously, in the US where traditional retailing is going into convulsions.
 
Asked whether the recent moves by Saudi Arabia to close the border with Qatar, whose royal family owns Valentino, had effected business, Sassi was dismissive. “It’s had absolutely no effect whatsoever,” Sassi snorted.

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